Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Salt & Shoes

My beloved riding boots (before)
Salting season has begun and as city excursions call for more of a riding boot (sans thoroughbred) than duck boot, it is time to conduct the annual shoe maintenance.
Dry, scratched up and wrinkly boots in need of some TLC
To begin, take a pair of dirty/used leather shoes or boots, mink oil, some clean paper towels or rags.
Mink oil is essential for good leather maintenance
Mink oil looks white in the tin, is fairly odorless and has a lard-like texture. Most cobblers or shoe stores sell mink oil and a small $15 tin can last a lifetime, since you only need a small amount each time you do this. First, clean the boots or shoes with a damp cloth to remove any mud or salt already accumulated on the leather.
Damp boots without protective mink oil
Next, apply mink oil generously with a dry soft cloth. I used paper towels since I couldn't find my Loake shoe care kit (ahem...), but any clean cloth will do. You might even use ready-for-the-trash-cut-up-gym-t-shirts, if you're frugal like me. 
...generous dollop of mink oil....
..massaged into leather...
Massage the mink oil into the leather, using a circular motion and focusing on wear creases around the top of the foot and ankles. Fill any scratches in the leather with extra mink oil and then massage all over the entire boot until evenly coated. You will notice that the leather darkens slightly as it becomes moisturized and saturated with minky goodness. Don't worry, with wear this lightens up again. Repeat on second shoe.
Mink oil saturated leather
Pause, admire handiwork, swear you were a cobbler in a previous life and then...
Take a clean cloth, wipe off any excess grease and proceed to polish in a rapid back and forth motion. I find it easiest to wear the boots at that point, to stabilize and fill out. The finished result is a beautiful buffed sheen which is waterproof and ready for the saltiest winter roads and wet weather, hurray!
Boots ready for the winter

This pair is ready for navy skinny jeans, Petit Bateau stripey sailor top and navy Barbour Liddesdale. Now please excuse me while I repeat this process with my other 234,902,390 pairs of shoes. Tip jar's over there.


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

    I LOVE Mink oil! My sister taught me about that and it's fantastic for boots! Does your puppy go crazy over the smell? My beagles are fascinated by the smell!

    <3 the blog!

  2. That's hilarious! My Doxie kept licking his chops, as though I was using butter, not mink oil! Ps. I love your blog name!!


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